Since the Founding, Americans have debated the true meaning of freedom. For some, freedom meant the provision of life’s necessities, those basic conditions for the “pursuit of happiness.” For others, freedom meant the civil and political rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights and unfettered access to the marketplace—nothing more. As Mark Paul explains, the latter interpretation—thanks in large part to a particularly influential cadre of economists—has all but won out among policymakers, with dire repercussions for American society: rampant inequality, endemic poverty, and an economy built to benefit the few at the expense of the many.
In this book, Paul shows how economic rights—rights to necessities like housing, employment, and health care—have been a part of the American conversation since the Revolutionary War and were a cornerstone of both the New Deal and the Civil Rights Movement. Their recuperation, he argues, would at long last make good on the promise of America’s founding documents. By drawing on FDR’s proposed Economic Bill of Rights, Paul outlines a comprehensive policy program to achieve a more capacious and enduring version of American freedom. Among the rights he enumerates are the right to a good job, the right to an education, the right to banking and financial services, and the right to a healthy environment.
Replete with discussions of some of today’s most influential policy ideas—from Medicare for All to a federal job guarantee to the Green New Deal—The Ends of Freedom is a timely and urgent call to reclaim the idea of freedom from its captors on the political right—to ground America’s next era in the country’s progressive history and carve a path toward a more economically dynamic and equitable nation.
“A gift to the social movements that are fighting to put those rights back on the political agenda, and to anyone contemplating the deeper meaning of freedom.” – Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine
“This is the book that throws down a forceful gauntlet on how, at last, to create an equitable America.” – William A. Darity Jr., author of From Here to Equality
Mark Paul is an assistant professor at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. His research and writing have appeared in the New York Times, Economist, Washington Post, Nation, American Prospect, _and _Financial Times, among other publications.
Angela Hanks is Chief of Programs at Demos, where she works with the Legal Strategies, Movement Building, and Policy & Research teams to build and advance towards achieving a just, inclusive, multiracial economy and democracy. Prior to joining Demos, Angela served in the Biden-Harris Administration as Acting Assistant Secretary of the Employment and Training Administration in the U.S. Department of Labor, where she worked to advance worker-centered policies that lead to quality jobs for all workers, particularly those who are marginalized. Angela brings with her deep experience in advancing progressive policies in the nonprofit and government sectors. Prior to joining the Administration, Angela was Deputy Executive Director at the Groundwork Collaborative, where she worked to advance an equitable, people-centered vision for the economy. She has also held roles at think tanks and policy organizations where she has written extensively about how to make the labor market more inclusive of marginalized workers.